Camping in Scenic State Park

A week prior to this camping trip, we had been watching the weather forecast intently because it had rain the entire week due to the slow moving tropical storm. Fortunately, the cold front from Canada prevented the storm from moving further north and we were spared from having to deal with wet days throughout the trip.

Camping has allowed us to explore the more remote places that we normally would not go due to the distance, the lack of accommodation and eatery options, and generally the fear of not knowing what to see or expect. Last year, we explored the northwestern region of Minnesota. This year, we decided to explore the north central region of Minnesota by camping in Scenic State Park. We chose this park for 2 reasons: 1) it is located in the Laurentian Mixed Forest, a remote area far away from any big cities, and 2) the name of the park enticed us… it would be rather disappointing and misleading to go to a place called “Scenic” and it not being scenic at all.

Scenic State Park holds true to its name. The proper words to describe this magical place: raw beauty, quiet, peaceful, idyllic and untouched. Every morning, we woke up by the chirping and scurrying noises from the tiny critters and the hammering noises from the woodpeckers. Every evening, we listened to the crying loons and the honking Canadian geese echoing loudly from the lakes. Throughout our time here, we hiked several trails (Chase Point, Tell Tale and Fire Tower) and kayaked on a few lakes (Coon Lake and Sandwick Lake).

We took an opportunity to explore outside the park by driving 45 minutes west to the Lost Forty. Located in the Chippewa National Forest, the Lost Forty is home to one of the last stands of virgin, old-growth red and white pines in Minnesota. This area went untouched by loggers when a surveying error mapped the area as a body of water in 1882.

On our last day, we traveled off the beaten path by driving along the Edge of the Wilderness Scenic Byway, the oldest scenic byway in Minnesota. This area is unique in the sense that it is located at the crossroads of 3 distinct North American land types: prairie grasslands on the west, boreal forest on the north and deciduous forest on the south.

Darkness hunters… overlooking Coon Lake.
2-hour kayaking on Coon Lake and Sandwick Lake.
Fallen trees on Coon Lake.
Red pine trees… decimated by powerful storms along Chase Point Trail.
Ladybug at the Lost Forty.
Chameleon at the Lost Forty.
Peaceful setting in the wilderness.
Road trip to Scenic State Park, which is about 5+ hours from our place.
Places we covered in Scenic State Park, including our kayaking routes.

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